Thu. Dec 2nd, 2021

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has topped the times in a sedate first practice session at the Losail International Circuit with the Qatari venue playing host to its first Grand Prix this weekend.

With an air temperature around 28 degrees celsius and a track temperature of 38 degrees, the drivers spent the first half of the session learning the track and playing with lines as they put in the laps on the Medium and Hard compound tyres and clear away the dust from the track surface.

It was with around twenty minutes to go that the pace of the session started to ramp up as the drivers swapped to the Soft tyre compound. Valtteri Bottas went quickest with a 1:24.194 to go quickest, with Verstappen then beating that time with ease as he set a 1:23.723 to go almost half a second clear. With the Red Bull driver quickest in the first and third sectors, Bottas set the faster time in the middle sector.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly slotted in behind Verstappen with three minutes left in the session, setting a time almost half a second slower than Verstappen and 0.034 quicker than what Bottas had managed.

Lewis Hamilton finished in fourth place, almost 0.8 seconds away from the pace set by Verstappen. However, the Mercedes driver had been on a much quicker lap with about 15 minutes remaining in the session, including the fastest middle sector, but aborted the lap in the final sector after getting a snap of oversteer.

Hamilton could be heard on the team radio querying his straight-line speed as he felt his engine was down on power, and also withdrew to the pits in the closing minutes as his team told him he had a car issue.

While Mercedes tried to hide the car back in the garage by having personnel stand in front of it, TV footage suggested that Hamilton had an issue with his front wing. With the issue repaired, he returned to the track with two minutes remaining.

2021 F1 QATAR GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE RESULTS (1)

POSDRIVERNAT.TEAMTIME
1Max verstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1m23.723s
2Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1m24.160s
3Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m24.194s
4Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m24.509s.
5Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1m24.648s
6Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1m24.713s
7Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1m24.790s
8Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing1m24.915s
9Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1m24.972s
10Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m25.215s
11Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m25.291s
12Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1m25.328s
13Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m25.688s
14Antonio GiovinazziGBRAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1m25.757s
15Kimi RaikkonenFINAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1m25.828s
16George RussellISRWilliams Racing1m25.871s
17Fernando AlonsoCHIAlpine F1 Team1m25.905s
18Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1m26.699s
19Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1m26.712s
20Nikita MazepinRUSUralkali Haas F1 Team1m27.500s

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